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Irish Student Makes His Dream to Study at Yale a Reality


It was a combination of wanting to live in the United States, and an interest in pursuing a Ph.D in Economics here that Brian Dineen's dream became a reality. “I was born in Ireland a small city called Cork, which is a city of about 200,00 people in the South of Ireland. It is right next to the sea. It is really a beautiful place and I grew up in Cork. I went to high school in Cork. I was there till the age of 18 and then I decided I wanted to see a bit of the world,” he says. “So I went to England for a university I went to Oxford for three years which was really terrific and I really enjoyed the whole traveling experience. It was wonderful meeting new people and emerging myself in a new culture and I also found that I really enjoyed Economics. So the states seemed the natural place to go. I spent four months working for a Congressman, Richard Neele as an intern and during that time I applied for graduate school here in America. I guess living in the states I really got bitten by the bug and to study Economics I guess the best place in the world to be at the moment is The United States. Most of the really top research institutions are over here. The funding is phenomenal and certainly at my institution…Yale the faculty is just mind-blowing and so I got this opportunity to come to Yale and it just seemed like a phenomenal opportunity and I thought I would be crazy to turn it down.”

Brian says since attending at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, he has learned that while taking the necessary courses to receive his doctorate in Economics an interesting part of his studies focuses on car insurance policies and the patterns of driver's behavior. “When I was growing up in Ireland, Ireland has some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the world. So one of the reasons why I wanted to do a PhD was to solve practical questions and when I came to Yale this seem like an interesting question for me to address. So what I looked at I look at patterns of driver behavior and policyholder behavior and I am trying to figure out ways that companies can offer innovative new policies that reduce the cost to policy holders so it will reduce premiums and just make it more affordable for people to have auto insurance,” he says. “Because certainly when I was growing up in Ireland none of the people of my generation could afford auto insurance and you had to wait until you were in your late 20’s quite often before you could get your own auto insurance policy. I guess coupled with that as well Ireland is an extremely spread out country. The population density is quite low. So inevitably public transport isn’t fantastic. It’s getting much better. So it is important to have access to a car. It is also a question of access. So that is what I have been working on in my dissertation. It is mostly statistics and I am trying to figure out as I said how people behave and respond to certain things.”

Brian says two of the biggest discoveries he has made since being in the U-S are his enjoyment of hot apple cider and the change of the seasons “ Well one of the biggest things and I know this is going to sound a bit trivial, but in America during the winter you can get hot apple cider. We have quite cold winters in Ireland as well, but nowhere near as cold as what it is in the United States. This wonderful drink that you can get here which is a non- alcoholic drink, which is made from freshly, pressed apples and it is only offered for a limited period during the year, but I wish they would do that at home,” he says. “If I ever go back home I think I am going to set up a company distributing this stuff so there is that and I guess other thing I have noticed because I live in the northeast is that the seasons change and it is very dramatic and it is really beautiful,” he says. “So it is much colder in the winter than it is in Ireland and it is much warmer in the summer and more humid than it is at home.”

After graduation Brian Dineen says he wants to stay in the United States.

“I have had a few offers from consulting firms over here which I am certainly giving a lot of thought to and I think that really would be my dream job,” he says. “This is a job where you go in and try to essentially fix problems when your company which have problems… these companies come in and suggest ways to fix those problems and so I’ve always enjoyed solving problems that is one of the reasons why I have gone to graduate school. So for me that sort of a job would be perfect.”

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